Linen Tea Towel – Raylene Bonson and Elizabeth Kala Kala Design

This opulent linen tea towel is hand-printed with linocut designs in metallic black and gold ink.

Kunmadj (Dilly Bags) & Marebu (Pandanus floor mat)

Artists: Raylene Bonson and Elizabeth Kala Kala

Kunmadj, or dilly bag, is a large woven collecting basket. These large bags are often made from the vine ‘Malasia scandens’, a strong pliable plant which grows along the floor and into the canopy of monsoon vine thickets. The bags are used to collect heavy foods, such as fish caught in conical fish traps or large collections of yams.

They can also be made from Pandanus spiralis, a plant which grows in many areas of Arnhem Land. These dilly bags are a tightly woven collecting basket, very finely made. These dilly bags are often used to collect sugarbag, the native honey.

As well as being of practical use, dilly bags are also of religious significance to Arnhem Land.

Marebu

Conical mats were traditionally used to shield babies from mosquitoes. Long flat mats were used for blocking creeks so that fish would be diverted into fish traps. A small triangular mat used to be worn by women during ceremonial gatherings, tied around their back and covering them at the front. Mats are also used for wrapping and rinsing food in water.

Artists usually use kun-dayarr (pandanus spiralis) to weave the fragrant, decorative round mats. When weaving, artists commonly use a mix of naturally dyed and undyed fibre to create a striking variation of coloured bands. Some artists also incorporate different types of looping to produce intricate patterns and textured finishes. There is a significant spiritual dimension to pandanus mats and the radial woven patterns of the finest round mats appear to vibrate with colour, often regarded as an aesthetic manifestation of djang, the ongoing, life-giving transformative power that accounts for every aspect of existence.

This artwork has been sold.